New Delhi : Cruelty to hens packed in small cages in poultry farms for producing eggs prompted the Supreme Court on Friday to issue a notice to the Centre. It has been told to cite the steps taken for enforcing the rules recommended by the Animal Welfare Board of India. The cages, with space equivalent to an A-4 size sheet, leave not even an iota of space to the hens to move, what to say of spreading their wings. The Chief Justice also could not resist from expressing concern over the cruel manner in which hens and cocks are stocked at meat shops.
The lawyer pointed out that poultry owners were still resorting to this battery caging system for housing egg-laying hens while it has been abandoned by the European Union long back. The cage-free system allows the hens space to move around and spread their wings.
The phrase battery caging system stems from the arrangement of rows and columns of identical cages connected together, sharing common divider walls, as in the cells of a battery. The European Union banned these conventional battery cages in January 2012, after the international scientists independently observed signs of extreme abnormal behaviour, including cannibalism, in the caged hens.
The lawyer also exhibited photographs of poultry farms to underscore his point. He also told the court that further cruelty takes place after hatching of eggs, as all male birds are smothered to death by putting them in a bag; then they are thrown into a grinder for producing feed for the hens in the cages.